A TRIBUTE TO LOLA EDEN GUEVARA BARADI

A TRIBUTE TO LOLA EDEN GUEVARA BARADI BY CRISTINA SEDIGO The first time my friend, Pat asked me if I can help her take care of her 101 year old mother, Eden Guevara Baradi, I easily agreed. I pictured her mom as a very old lady who was weak, mostly in bed, watching television or asleep. Lola Eden, I called her Lola, meaning grandma in Tagalog, the Philippine’s language, took me by surprise. She was always impeccably coiffed, her face was made up even though she didn’t need it and she wore the most beautiful, long dresses. (Lola never liked wearing pants because in her younger days, women who wore pants were frowned upon.) Lola Eden was smart, had a photographic memory and was full of energy. It was I, who had a hard time keeping up with Lola. In fact, there were two words that I often said: “Slow Down Lola!” She walked fast with or without her walker (she said that she really didn’t need a walker but Pat made sure she had one “just in case” she needed it. Whenever she had a party to go to or friends to see, (Lola was very active!) I made sure that I had everything ready including myself because Lola would just leave and walk out the front door with or without anyone by her side. I was always trying to catch up with Lola. I was glad that Pat’s husband Cam had plenty of Gatorade in the fridge. I needed that extra energy! Although Lola loved Dr. Anthony Knott, as she did his predecessor, Dr. Gavino Mapula, she did not like going to the Medical Clinic when she was ill. Only when she felt good did she agree to see him. There were many times that she wanted to walk out the office but Dr. Knott would convince her to stay and be checked our. He knew that Lola does not like to take medicine so Dr. Knott respected her wishes. Lola also loved the staff members, especially Rudy and Nicole who cared for her equally. Every Tuesday, Lola played Bingo at Seniors Nutrition Center located at the Playhouse. I enjoyed seeing her “young” male friends Tony and Nilson vying for her attention by offering their bingo prizes such as chocolate kisses or paper towel. One time I whispered to Lola: “I wish I had your charisma so that I too can have two men fighting over me. Instead, I only have dogs that fight over me because I bribe their with dog biscuits. Lola must have left a trail of broken hearts before she met Lolo, (Grampa) eighty-nine years ago, at the age of twenty-three. Her laugh was contagious and she had such a great sense of humor. Even though she was stubborn and didn’t always follow the doctors advice I looked forward in taking care of Lola as if she were my own grandma. I loved to look at her sparkling eyes and her beaming smile. Lola lit up any room she entered. She loved to laugh. One thing for sure was that Lola’s was loved by her four children, Perla, Mauro, Joe and Pat. All made sure that they talked to Lola every day and sometimes even twice a day. Her younger son, Joe, who lives in the Philippines, often got disconnected but would never give trying until he got through. Her older son Mauro would called at 10:45 in the morning, before the television program ‘The View” at her request. Her elder daughter Perla often came to visit on week-ends. But it is Pat and her husband, Camilo that truly amaze me. In fact, Camilo is called St. Cam by the family because of all he does for Lola and the Baradi’s. I believe that the reason why Lola lived to be 101 plus is because she was surrounded by love including many of her friends and acquaintances. In the final hour, before she passed away, while cradling her in my arms to help her sleep comfortably, she called out a name, over and over again. She called out: “Sus” and I didn’t recognized any of her relatives with that name. Nevertheless, I assured her that even if “Sus” was not there, I was there for her and that I loved her very much. I knew that she heard me because she squeezed my hand as if to let me know that she loved me too. This was for me the most beautiful memory of Lola that I would always carry in my heart. Only after she was gone that I realized that the name “Sus” she was calling out was in fact, the name “Jesus” If anyone would ask me what kind of person Lola was, I would answer: Lola was kind, gracious,always made sure she said “Thank you” to me even when she was not feeling well. Lola was a person with a strong faith in Jesus’ love. I grieve for Lola, because I truly miss her. I cried in my room when I looked at a crucifix of Jesus. I asked: “Why did you give me a wonderful person to love and then take her away after just a few months?” Life is so unfair. But through the tears, I realized that the cross is a symbol of pain and suffering and also the greatest symbol of God’s Great love and message which is “Death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal happiness.” Note: This was my tribute to Lola, Eden Guevara Baradi given on February 25, 2012 at the Montauk Community Church, Montauk NY